María Elena Ríos, saxophonist attacked with acid, plays with Maldita Vecindad at Vive Latino

The return of Vive Latino to Foro Sol last weekend left postcard scenes to mark a kind of return to normality after the Covid-19 pandemic, including the participation of saxophonist María Elena Ríos, attacked with acid in 2019, in the number of Maldita Vecindad at the closing of the first day of the festival.

The group had just finished paying homage to Eulalio Cervantes Galarza, the band’s founding saxophonist who died last year, when Mixtec music joined the group on stage at Vive to perform the latest songs on the program.

The saxophonist stood in front of the massive audience that witnessed the return of Vive Latino with the ravages left by the acid attack she suffered in 2019; however, on stage what shone was her talent.

Along with Maldita, Ríos performed one of the most emblematic songs of the group, Kumbala, in which the saxophone is one of the main instruments.

Acid attack by politician

Malena’s life, as she is known in her close circle, changed completely in September 2019, when Juan Antonio Vera Hernández, son of former deputy Juan Antonio Vera Carrizal, annealed her body, from her face to her legs, with sulfuric acid , presumably by order of his father, with whom Ríos had had a relationship.

According to María Elena and her relatives, the relationship was always violent, from psychological to sexual, which ended with the attempted femicide that left the Oaxacan saxophonist forever marked.

Malena spent months hospitalized at the National Institute for the Rehabilitation of Burns in Mexico City, but her recovery has been extended since then to date, seeking to reduce the marks that sexist violence left on her face.

Her participation on the Vive Latino stage, one of the most important festivals in the country, then represents for María Elena Ríos not only a personal achievement, but also a symbolic rebirth of an aggression that goes beyond the acid that dissolved her skin, to the violence exercised by justice institutions that hindered their right to justice.